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Four Directions v. Committee On Judicial Conduct and Disability of The Judicial Conference of The United States

United States District Court, N.D. California

May 27, 2015

FOUR DIRECTIONS, ET AL., Petitioners,
v.
COMMITTEE ON JUDICIAL CONDUCT AND DISABILITY OF THE JUDICIAL CONFERENCE OF THE UNITED STATES, ET AL., Respondents.

ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION; VACATING MARCH 18 ORDER; AND DENYING FIRST AMENDED PETITION

YVONNE GONZALEZ ROGERS, District Judge.

Respondents Cathy A. Catterson, in her official capacity as representative of the Office of the Circuit Executive ("Catterson") and Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability of the Judicial Conference of the United States ("the USJCD Committee") (collectively, "Respondents"), with leave of this Court, have moved for reconsideration of this Court's March 18, 2015 Order Granting in Part First Amended Petition as to Preservation of Emails Only ("March 18 Order"), Dkt. No. 53, under Civil Local Rule 7-9, or in the alternative, to alter or amend judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). Each Respondent offers separate grounds for reconsideration, but joins in the other's arguments in their respective briefs.

The Court previously ordered as follows:

given the unusual posture of this case and the Court's broad discretion in fashioning appropriate relief, the Court GRANTS that portion of Petitioners' request for preservation of the emails at issue and ORDERS that Respondents take all necessary steps to preserve the emails at issue, in accordance with Ninth Circuit policy, until January 18, 2019. However, given the breadth of the FAP as pleaded, the Court DENIES the balance thereof, since it fails to establish all elements of Rule 27(a)(1).

(March 18 Order at 1-2.)

Respondent Catterson now presents significant new information-unchallenged and, in fact, conceded by Petitioners-demonstrating that none of the Petitioners face any threatened future injury to them based upon concerns about the destruction of emails in the investigative file. On this basis, the Court finds Petitioners lack of standing and, therefore, GRANTS the Motions for Reconsideration, VACATES its March 18 Order, and DENIES the First Amended Petition.

I. BACKGROUND

On July 1, 2014, Petitioners filed a Pre-Complaint Petition to Preserve Evidence pursuant to Rule 27(a)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Original Petition, Dkt. No. 1.) Initially, Petitioners sought production of the investigation file and all documents obtained therein and identification of persons who worked on the investigation conducted by the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council's special committee concerning Judge Richard Cebull. ( Id. ) Respondents filed a motion to dismiss which the Court granted with leave to amend by order issued October 28, 2014. (Dkt. No. 32.) On November 14, 2014, Petitioners filed a substantially amended First Amended Petition ("FAP"), adding a new Petitioner and new allegations specific to Petitioners' interactions with Judge Cebull. (Dkt. No. 34.)

II. DISCUSSION

Rule 27 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs the FAP. Rule 27(a) provides that:

A person who wants to perpetuate testimony about any matter cognizable in a United States court may file a verified petition in the district court for the district where any expected adverse party resides. The petition must ask for an order authorizing the petitioner to depose the named persons in order to perpetuate their testimony. The petition must be titled in the petitioner's name and must show:
(A) that the petitioner expects to be a party to an action cognizable in a United States court but cannot presently bring it or cause it to be brought;
(B) the subject matter of the expected action and the petitioner's interest;
(C) the facts that the petitioner wants to establish by the proposed testimony and the ...

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